Before I get rolling on today’s issue, I’d like to give a shout out to Brian Henry, a Vice Commish in one of my dynasty leagues. I think Brian reads my blog mainly for ammunition in our message board, which is good because I give plenty on this page. I would also like to point out here that Brian ‘won’ the number one rookie pick this year, which happens when your team finishes dead last. How’s A-Pete’s collarbone looking today? I’m just jealous because I’ve never sucked enough to finish in dead last, although my efforts of late are bringing me closer to that goal.
I want to chat about Chris Brown, the almost-former Titan. I have a personal history with Chris Brown that I think needs to be publicized. Before the 2004 season there was a sale on NFL.com on old personalized jerseys. I guess there was a new Reebok logo or something. 2XL jerseys, and this was before jerseys got really big, went for $19.99. In a move as astute as trading LT and Larry Johnson this offseason, I decided to buy three and sell them on ebay. I figured that I’d at least break even, and in the process I’d be the first Titan fan to have a Chris Brown jersey. Eddie George had just been unceremoniously dumped to the Cowboys, and Brown was the heir apparent. As a color-blind homer, I assumed only the best.
Not only did the Brown jerseys sell for the outrageous amount that I planned (ebay fees killed my chances of getting more than half my money back), there were other sharks who planned the same thing, thereby flooding the market. I still had my jersey and wore it on the home opener, when the Titans lost to the Colts and Brown went for a career-high 152 yards on 26 carries. I was momentarily flying high since I took Brown late in the first round of the AUFL draft. The Ahman Green/Chris Brown combo was, for a very brief time, unstoppable. Brown averaged more than 100 yards for his first five games, and in the first half of the season he had 810 rushing yards and five touchdowns. I’ll bet at that point Brown never thought that he’d be a healthy scratch in all but five games just two years later.
Brown played in just three games in the second half of 2004, prompting the Titans to trade a third-round pick for an apparently over-the-hill Travis Henry. A banged-up Brown only missed one 2005 contest but failed to exceed 1000 yards. Henry had a drug suspension that kept him from getting a real shot at the starting gig, but in 2006 he clearly pulled away from the pack.
The Titans decided that an eight-million-dollar bonus, which had to have been somewhat of a joke when initially negotiated, was too much for a guy who just set a career high in YPC. That left the Flaming Thumbtacks with LenDale White, a 2005 second-round pick, Chris Henry, a 2007 second-round pick already considered the bust of the draft, a practice-squad player in Quinton Ganther, Dontrelle Moore, and undrafted rookie Danny Ware. LenDale White’s inability to avoid the drive-thru, almost as pathological as Pacman’s inability to find somewhere besides a strip club to visit on a Sunday night, forced their hand.
For those scoring at home, the Titans have spent two third-round picks and two second-round picks in the past five years in an attempt to bring back Eddie George. Give George credit, he didn’t miss a start in his career. Brown has 2295 rushing yards in four years. White totaled 240 yards in limited action. Henry couldn’t exceed 1000 yards last year for a mid-level Pac-10 school. He’s wicked fast, though.
The Brown signing does illuminate a truth about pro sports. It’s all about the money. Brown was a third-stringer most of last year behind a guy in White who couldn’t stay healthy despite having a season-high of nine carries in a game. The team didn’t want him, but he re-signed for two reasons. The first is that no one else really wanted him. The Bears showed some interest but they already have their starter (Benson), a solid backup (the other Adrian Peterson) and a tempting but tiny rookie (Garrett Wolfe). There was no room for Brown. The second reason is that Brown’s going to get the highest payday of his career. It’s a paltry sum by NFL standards, but I’d take 1.85 million for one year.
The Titans could cut Brown by opening day. That wouldn’t be a shocking development. Brown could also rise from the ashes and lead the Titans to the playoffs. I’d like him to do one thing that no Titan RB on the current roster did last year. Score a touchdown.
Strange stats: In Eddie George’s nine-year NFL career, his season high for YPC was 4.1, which he reached in his rookie year of 1996. In 2004, Chris Brown had a 4.8 YPC. George exceeded 300 carries for eight straight years, a stat that will probably hold no weight when he’s considered for the Hall of Fame. I don’t think the consideration will be too deep, but let’s face it, the Titans are going to try to find his replacement for a long time.
Single of the week: I’m finally burning out on “Closer” by Travis, so I will mention my purchase of “You Know I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse. Perhaps that would be a good theme for my 2007 fantasy campaigns.